Legal Question in Business Law in Maryland

Carwash Liability

I took my car to a car wash on a very cold day. My car had no scratches on it before the car was washed. I paid by credit card and used the car wash's brushes and hoses to wash my car, which was dirty from salt on the road. It was dark by the time I left and I did not notice that there were scratches all over my car until the next day. I believe they were caused by the brush. There is a sign posted at the car wash that reads that the car wash is not responsible for any damage done to the vehicles.

My question is, can they be found liable and forced to pay for a new paint job?

Asked on 1/04/01, 1:28 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Daniel Press Chung & Press, P.C.

Re: Carwash Liability

If you did the washing using their equipment, you are out of luck. If it was an automatic car wash, the result may be different.

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Answered on 1/05/01, 1:07 pm

Lawrence Holzman Holzman Law Firm, LLC

Re: Carwash Liability

Although the car wash cannot escape liability for negligence by the mere posting of a sign, it would be hard to say that they were negligent if you washed your own car.

Some practical advice (from me as a car owner and not as an attorney) --- the "clear coat" that is used on most modern new cars is scratched very easily. You should never use ANY type of brush on it (even a brush or broom to wipe off the snow)-- always use a soft cloth. That's why most of the full service car washes advertise "touchless" service.

The good news is that the "scratches" in your clear coat will likely go away if you have your car properly rubbed out. Hopefully you would not need a whole new paint job. If I were you, I would find a really trustworthy and high quality body shop (look for a shop that specializes in high priced cars) and ask them to rub it out for you. I know a great shop in Rockville if that's near you -- just give me a call or send an email if you want info to contact them. Actually, even if it's not near you, you could call them and see if they could recommend someone that they trust in your area.

Lawrence R. Holzman, Esquire

Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A.

6404 Ivy Lane, Suite 400

Greenbelt, MD 20770

(301) 220-2200

fax (301) 220-1214

[email protected]

Disclaimer: Please note that the posting of this response is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain information applicable to your situation. This posting is not confidential or privileged and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

Good luck.

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Answered on 1/08/01, 11:10 am

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